The Pyramid of North Dakota – Nekoma, North Dakota - Atlas Obscura

The Pyramid of North Dakota

Nekoma, North Dakota

The remnants of an early American attempt at missile defense. 


The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex was developed in the 1960s to shoot down incoming Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Built at a cost of six billion dollars in Nekoma, North Dakota, the site was a massive complex of missile silos, a giant pyramid-shaped radar system, and dozens of launching silos for surface-to-air missiles tipped with thermonuclear warheads. It included a PAR “backscatter radar” site, designed to follow missiles being fired from Russia, which it would shoot down over Canada.

However, due to its expense, and concern over both its effectiveness and the danger of detonating defensive nuclear warheads over friendly territory, the program was shut down. Its massive tunnels were flooded. Today it is a military-industrial shell in the middle of nowhere, or in the words of one writer, “a monument to man’s fear and ignorance.”

Know Before You Go

While visitors are not able to explore the pyramid or enter the grounds, photos can still be taken from the gravel road outside the gate. The pyramid is just outside the tiny settlement of Nekoma, North Dakota. There's a small store/restaurant in town and not much else. The nearest gas station is in Langdon, about 19 miles away. The site is 40 miles from Canada. The closest town is Langdon North Dakota which sits seven miles to the north of Nekoma and 20 miles west of the PAR radar at Concrete, North Dakota. Langdon sits at the intersection of State Highways #1 & #5 which is approximately 15 miles south of Canada and 40 miles west of Minnesota. Don't miss the Sprint Missle still standing in the middle of the Langdon Park!

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